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The Our World program is designed and facilitated in collaboration with Arizona Teachers of the Year, Ambassadors for Excellence, higher education partners, and other master educators.

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Maria Barker

Maria Barker is a Special Education Instructional Coach in Mesa Public Schools. She champions the notion that the best investment to ensure the future success of a child, is to invest in the early years of their lives. Maria’s purpose and passion lies in assisting all students in realizing their fullest potential by giving them the communication skills and behavioral strategies needed to maximize their future well-being. Maria double majored in Neurobiological Sciences and Art History at Cornell University and received her M.Ed. in Special and General Education from Arizona State University. Maria achieved National Board Certification in 2017 as an Exceptional Needs Specialist- Early Childhood to Adult and was named one of AEF's 2019 Teacher of the Year Ambassador for Excellence, the first preschool teacher to have been selected. Maria is also a current member of the Arizona K-12 Center's Teachers Solution Team and pursuing her doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Arizona.

Estevan Carreon is a 2021 AEF Ambassador of Excellence and the 2021 AzCEC Special Education Teacher of the Year. He has taught in the Glendale Union High School District for twenty-five years and currently teaches students who have emotional disabilities and behavioral issues at Independence High School. Mr. Carreon holds a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis on emotional disabilities, and two Master of Arts degrees in Secondary Education and Educational Leadership. He has served three terms as president of the Glendale Union Education Association and served on the boards of  both the Arizona Education Association and the National Education Association. Currently, Mr. Carreon serves on the Professional Negotiations Team for his district and was recently on a special task force focusing on safely reopening schools after the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Carreon has coached several high school sports and sponsored several school clubs including Peer Mediators and National Honor Society and is the director of Unitown and Anytown at Independence High School. Mr. Carreon is a US Naval Reserves veteran and a recent graduate of ‘Leading For Change’, a nonprofit fellowship for future Arizona leaders. His greatest accomplishment is raising his amazing daughter, who is a music education major at Northern Arizona University.

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Estevan Carreon

Dr. Amanda Cheromiah (Laguna Pueblo) received her doctorate degree in higher education from the University of Arizona. Amanda is passionate about strengthening the collective and individual self-determination of Indigenous people through outreach, advocacy, and digital media. Amanda is currently the director for UArizona’s Native SOAR, a multigenerational mentoring program that serves Indigenous youth in Arizona.  Amanda is also a visually impaired photographer. She loves celebrating the rich heritage of Indigenous people through imagery.

Dr. Amanda Royce Josanaraae Cheromiah

Michelle Bugh Doherty was named the 2017 Arizona Teacher of the Year while serving as a first-grade dual language teacher and mentor coach at Encanto Elementary in the Osborn School District where she taught for 25 years. She proudly invested her ENTIRE teaching career for the same district and the same school. Michelle was born and raised in Arizona and is a first-generation college graduate.  She is continuing her love for teaching by supporting and mentoring new teachers in the Arizona Teachers Academy and is also an adjunct faculty member for Northern Arizona University. She serves on the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) Board and supports many inspiring programs within AEF, including, the selection of Arizona Teacher of the Year, the A+ School of Excellence program, and Our World. In addition to being named the AEF 2017 Arizona Teacher of the Year, Doherty was also recognized as the 2016-2017 Osborn School District Teacher of the Year, and the 2015 Chicanos Por La Causa Esperanza Latino Teacher of the Year.  Michelle received her B.A. in Early Childhood Education, her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in reading and early childhood education from Arizona State University, and in 2017 received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Northern Arizona University.  She feels it is a privilege and an honor to work in the field of education and is most passionate about providing a quality education for all.

Michelle Bugh Doherty
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Dr. Marjaneh Gilpatrick

In addition to serving as an Our World fellow, Dr. Marjaneh Gilpatrick is the Associate Dean in the College of Education at Grand Canyon University. In her role she oversees the college’s outreach, research and development efforts. She is the secretary of Arizona Educational Foundation’s Board of Trustees and treasurer of Educators Rising Arizona Board of Advisors, the past vice chair of Southeast Maricopa Regional Council for Arizona First Things First, the past president of the higher education division in Arizona School Administrators and AZTESOL. Before joining GCU, she was the Instructional Specialist, Reading Department Chair and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Coordinator at a junior high school as well as a 3rd and 4th grade ESL teacher. Furthermore, she taught Cultural Diversity, the Art of Storytelling, and ESL courses to pre-service teachers at Maricopa Community Colleges. She is particularly passionate about providing equitable, rigorous and relevant culturally inclusive teaching and learning opportunities that enhance and enrich the underrepresented and/or underserved students for whom English is an additional language. She has published articles on team teaching, literacy, and dual language immersion. In her spare time, you will find her engaged in spending time with her husband, their three adult children and her nieces and nephews; reading, learning to ballroom dance, needlepointing and her newest hobby, creating scrapbooks of memories.

Jillian Hernández is a fifth grade teacher at Puente de Hózhó in Flagstaff, a public bilingual magnet school that has a Diné (Navajo)/English and Spanish/English program and is currently seeking authorization to become an International Baccalaureate School. Ms. Hernández graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish from Northern Arizona University. She also obtained a Master of Education degree in the teaching of mathematics from Western Governors University. Jillian was recognized as an Ambassador for Excellence in Education by the Arizona Educational Foundation in the Fall of 2020. She joined Our World because of her passion for social justice education. She continues to learn and unlearn in her own practice, reimagining educational spaces with students, educators, and community members.

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Jillian Hernández
Kristie Jackson

Kristie Jackson, 2012 AZ Teacher of the Year, has worked in education for over 20 years, having taught kindergarten and third grade, as well as held the roles of reading coach/interventionist and district professional learning director. She has obtained a Masters degrees in educational administration and supervision as well as curriculum and instruction with reading specialist and ESL endorsements. Her doctorate in higher and post-secondary education focused on the effects of serving as a mentor on teacher leaders. Northern Arizona University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for her service as a state and national advocate for public education, including her impact on teacher leadership. Kristie also serves as an advocate for anti-racism and has engaged with Harvard University as a member of a cohort addressing race, equity and leadership in schools. Kristie has served as a Core Advocate with Student Achievement Partners and ECET2 Team Lead; a Teacher Advisory Council member with the Gates Foundation; and been a member of the College and Career Readiness Task Force for the Center for Great Teachers and Leaders with the US Department of Education. She's also a member of the AZ K12 Center's Teacher Solutions Team and Board of Directors and served on the Public Engagement Task Force with Expect More Arizona. Kristie is currently a Senior Learning Strategist with BloomBoard Inc, a leading software platform enabling educator advancement via micro-credentials.

Dr. Beth Maloney is a National Board Certified teacher, the 2014 Arizona Teacher of the Year, and spent the past twenty years teaching in the classroom. Beth is a passionate advocate for students, teachers, and quality education. She was recently honored with the Carolyn Warner Legacy Award.
Beth has a doctorate in Higher and Postsecondary Education and was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Northern Arizona University. Beth is thrilled to bring her passion for arts education to a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to providing meaningful arts experiences to the students of Arizona as the Arts Education Director.

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Dr. Beth Maloney


Renee Levin, AEF® Equity Champion | 480-231-4872 |

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